“Grief is like the ocean – it comes on waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison, Author
I don’t particularly like shopping. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do enjoy some kinds of shopping. I like grocery shopping. I am delighted to shop in a book store anytime, anywhere. I like to shop for greeting cards and flashlights and socks. But, for the most part, I don’t enjoy shopping. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve come to decide that I don’t like shopping because I don’t really understand it. For instance, why, in the middle of winter, do I find all sorts of spring clothes hanging on racks where sweaters and jackets and warm clothes should be, and the slim pickings of needed winter wear are all on a clearance rack in a corner? Why, in late June, when I am looking for sparklers to celebrate the Fourth of July, am I greeted with a display of Halloween candy? And why, in October, when I’m looking for the Halloween candy, am I lost in a forest of Christmas trees? I just don’t understand it! But that’s not new for me! There are many things in life that I don’t understand, and that’s OK with me.
Grief, it seems, brings a whole new level of things that are not easily, if ever, understood. The entire process of living with our losses and working through them in our grief journeys can be about as confusing as I find a shopping expedition. Yes, it’s something that has to be done, but it may not be a lot of fun. That’s OK. Do it anyway. Yes, it’s something that may throw you into the midst of an unknown nightmare. That’s OK. Go there anyway. Yes, it’s an ordeal that may have you crying, one moment from laughter and the next from sadness. That’s OK. Keep crying anyway. Yes, there will be memories that will bring comfort as well as memories that will be painful. That’s OK. Remember anyway.
Sometimes, the only way we can deal with things in life, whether we understand them or not, is to just live them. Often, in living them, even if we don’t gain understanding, we may find an acceptance that brings comfort and peace. Here we are at the beginning of a new year! What your new year holds for you will unfold with the choices you make in your life each day. I encourage you to be present each and every day. Keep the years, past and future, in perspective. Learn from the past and be hopeful about the future, but don’t miss out on the present!
Allow your grief to accompany you in this new year, in ways that enhance your living each day. As you seek to honor and celebrate your loved ones who are no longer with you, be present to all the feelings to be felt and all the living to be done through them. Be present and take it one day at a time!
Your grief journey matters to us here at Hospice & Community Care. Please give us a call when you need a bit of reassurance and hope as you make your way each day with your grief. And, hey, navigating through that forest of Christmas trees in October while looking for the Halloween candy is much easier to deal with when I’m not alone!
Lee Ann Livingston
Spiritual Care Provider
The Hospice & Community Care team has a number of resources available for helping families walk through grief and loss.
Learn more about the support and services available to you.